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Поколения XX века: возможности исследования


Опубликовано на портале: 23-11-2006
Тематический раздел:
Generations of the XXth Century: Opportunities for Research (by Yuri Levada). The data of the public opinion surveys allow to present directly the distribution of the positions of the age groups during approximately one decade since the end of the 80s. Attitudes and evaluations of the present-day elderly people that may be considered the representatives of the generations dominating during a certain period have undergone undisputable changes, perhaps in different directions. The opportunities of using the other empirical sources — memoirs, personal and literary documents, etc. — for studying the dynamics of the generations are not considered in this case. "Smooth" transition from one generation to another one may be imagined only in traditional society in which such transition is carried out within the frames of the family. Such phenomena as "key" generations that set "the fashion" (orientations and symbols) for a relatively long period, "gaps" between generations (in attitudes and evaluations), conflicts between the generations of "fathers and sons", etc. become possible in social-political history, particularly in contemporary, post-traditional one that is full of changes and shocks, mass expectations, disappointments, complexes, etc. The very problem of the generations in different dimensions arises only in the conditions of generational gaps and crises. The sociological analysis of the historical process deals not with the "demographic" generation (the totality of population of the same age) but with certain significant "generational" groups or structures (the latter notion includes also the mechanisms and standards of interpersonal interaction).
The time frames of forming up (socialization) the certain age groups that fall on particularly significant critical periods seem to be of primary importance. The number of such periods in Russia's XX century — and accordingly of "meaningful" generations — is six: 1) "Revolutionary turning point", conditionally 1905-1930 years (is not represented now in the sample); 2) "Stalin's" mobilization system of 1930—1941 years (4% of a grown-up population; 3) War and immediately following post-war period of 1941-1953 (7%); 4) "The thaw" // "Ottepel" of 1953-1964 (21%); 5) "Zastoy" // "Stagnation" of 1964-1985 years (39%); 6) The years of the "Perestroyka" and "reforms" — 1985-1999 (28%). The change of the generational types in the most mass, "local" groups of town and rural inhabitants is determined by other factors and has another chronology determined by such phenomena as war, hunger, collectivization, passport system, migration to towns, introducing and canceling the distribution of goods by cards, mass house-building in the towns, automobilization, the development of consumption in non-deficit conditions, default in 1998, etc.
It seems legitimate to talk about the generations and mechanisms of their dynamics also in connection with some more limited, specific groups that act in professional or caste-secluded environments — it concerns military, bureaucratic, academic and other elite environments. The higher (powerful) bureaucracy of the soviet period evidently was also one of the types of the secluded generational groups.
The past XXth century had known the periods of relative social stability but it had never, on no turn seen steadily working mechanism of generational change and continuity — neither in Tzar's years, nor in soviet years, nor in post-soviet years.
The people that started independent life in the 90-s, that is born about 1975—1980 will become the most active generational group in the nearest years. In that century it is the first generation of the pragmatics devoid of the historical (institutionalized) social memory.
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